“File:20150616 – Portugal – Italie – Genève – Antonio Conte 1.jpg” by Clément Bucco-Lechat is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
After they recently treated us to an epic Coppa Italia quarter final, Milan and Inter clashed again. The top in Serie A met in what was the biggest Milan derby in a many year as both have declined massively since Milan’s league win in 2011 and Inter’s 2010 treble under Jose Mourinho. But both teams are finally coming back to the fore and this game would go a huge way to who was going to claim the Scudetto. Inter had won their last three league games, whereas Milan needed to recover after a shock away defeat to Spezia.
Inter started brightly and were rewarded after five minutes. Romelu Lukaku raced clear and his cross towards the back post was headed in by Lautaro Martinez to give them the early lead. Inter continued to put pressure on and forced a couple of corners as they troubled Milan by getting the ball out wide. Ashraf Hakimi on the right, and especially Ivan Perisic on the left were causing Milan major issues. Donnarumma was kept on his toes as he had to make two punches to prevent more danger around this six-yard box. The closest Milan came was a deflected Zlatan Ibrahimovic back-heel which was easily claimed by Samir Handanovic in the 15th minute. In the 26th minute a great ball into the box from Perisic should have seen Inter up 2-0 but Lukaku just couldn’t get the contact on it that was needed.
Just after the half hour mark, the Rossoneri almost got what would have been an undeserved equaliser as Theo Hernandez’ right shot crept just past the post. Inter continued to bomb forward and they nearly made it 2-0. Perisic’s shot was saved and then Martinez could not score from the rebound. Despite their first half dominance it was clear Antonio Conte’s men needed a second goal.
Stefano Pioli clearly lambasted his team at half-time as Milan came out rampantly to start the second period. Just two minutes into the half Samir Handanovic dived to his left to make a great one handed saved from an Ibrahimovic header. Not even a minute later he was called into action again making another fine one handed stop to turn a Sandro Tonali shot over the top. Milan were left to rue not getting back on level terms as the Nerazzurri finally made them pay. Another attack down the left hand side saw Perisic’s ball back across goal put in by Martinez for his brace. Milan almost plunged deeper into trouble as Donnarumma denied Lukaku in the 63rd minute, but three minutes later the Belgian was not to be denied. Another rapid Inter counter attack saw Lukaku move the ball away from the three Milan men around him before his lethal shot went into the bottom corner.
As the game petered out Nicolo Barella went just wide in the 74th minute for Inter. Then at the death Handanovic stopped Milan from getting a consolation goal as he denied Ante Rebic and substitute Soualiho Meite.
Antonio Conte has been known as being very stubborn, but the recent changes to the starting XI with Christian Eriksen inserted in a deeper lying midfield role and Ivan Perisic as a left wing back have seen Inter look much more dangerous. Inter now have a four point lead at the top of the table over Milan and just as importantly they are 11 ahead of Juventus who as it stands have two games in hand. Inter are the only team in the top six who do not currently have European commitments and we will see if this works in their favour in the next few weeks. If Conte could go on and win the title it would be incredible as some were calling for his head only a few months ago.